Pew Trusts: Seven 2017 statistics that informed, inspired us to tackle today’s toughest challenges

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Pew Charitable Trusts takes on some of today’s toughest issues, by applying a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public police, inform the public and invigorate civic life.

Here are the stats that drove Pew’s work in 2017:

1. Opioids claim 91 American lives daily

That sobering stat stems in part from two others:

• More than 20 million Americans have a substance use disorder (so you probably know someone who’s suffering).

• 90 percent of people who need treatment aren’t getting it.

Listen, and know their struggle — as well as a proven recovery strategy — in a uniquely personal episode of our “After the Fact” podcast.

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2. The incarceration rate is down 13%

That’s welcome news, especially as it coincides with falling crime rates.

Pew’s Adam Gelb:

Policymakers on both sides of the aisle are saying enough is enough. We’ve got enough cells to keep the people who are serious, chronic, violent offenders.”

We owe it to taxpayers to find lower-cost alternatives for these people who otherwise are just cycling in and out of these prisons.”

Behind the good news: Quick stats, charts, and maps.

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3. 42% of working women report gender discrimination at work

In a survey taken before the recent wave of sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men in politics, the media, and other industries:

• Highly educated women were more likely than women with less education to say they’d experienced at least one of eight specific forms of discrimination at work.

• 22 percent of working women said they’d experienced sexual harassment at work—covered separately in the survey.

See breakdowns by race and ethnicity, political party, and more from the Pew Research Center.

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4. Two-thirds of Americans have zero savings

Overall the U.S. economy looks good. So why are many American families financially uneasy?

• Almost half of households say they can’t predict their income month to month or year to year.

• Only a third say they have any savings at all.

More: Incomes up, stability still elusive.

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5. 49% of Americans are relatively disengaged from information

At a time of confusion over news and information, a Pew Research Center survey explored how levels of trust and enthusiasm for learning impact how people engage with facts and information.

• 24 percent of Americans fall into the “Doubtful” category. They’re leery of information sources, particularly local and national news.

• 25 percent fall into the “Wary” category. They have the lowest level of trust in information sources and little interest in upgrading digital skills.

Five “information dispositions”: Which is yours?

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6. Partisan gap has more than doubled

It’s not all in your mind — it’s in the numbers too: The divide between Republicans and Democrats has grown even wider, per the Pew Research Center.

• The average difference between Democrats’ and Republicans’ views on 10 key issues grew from 15 percent to 36 percent (1994 to 2017).

• Party affiliation is by far the greatest determinant of difference in these issues—much more so than race, religious attendance, age, education, or gender.

Charted: See how partisan gaps have widened on a range of issues.

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7. Area 3X the size of France protected

What a way to end the year. The world’s largest protected area just entered into force: Antarctica’s Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area.

Why it matters:

• It’s a symbol of cooperation: 25 parties—including the U.S., Russia, and China—collaborated on the designation.

• It safeguards nearly 800,000 square miles (2.06 million square kilometers) for penguins, whales, and more.

• Scientists have called it “the least altered marine ecosystem on Earth.”

See it for yourself — above and below the waves.

From The Pew Charitable Trusts

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